1 Dec 2009

Stigma against people infected with HIV/AIDS still a problem in Pacific countries

9:15 am on 1 December 2009

Stigma against people infected with HIV/AIDS is still a big problem in the Pacific region.

It's World AIDS Day today, which is set aside worldwide to raise awareness about the virus.

Tens of thousands of people in the Pacific are affected.

Among them is Joave Vakacereivalu from Fiji who found out that she's HIV positive in 2002.

She says it was hard to deal with it.

"I'm HIV positive and also my baby. I hid our status from my parents and all my family for almost six months. When I told them, my mum at the time, she really gave me a hard time. And people in the village were pointing fingers at me, they talked about me, discrimination."

Joave Vakacereivalu says there's free access to drugs in Fiji and she's learned to live with the virus.